Top 10 tips for visiting Ireland

top 10 tips

Excited about your trip to Ireland? The Cead Míle Fáiltes are here waiting for you! We have a few tips to share with you about visiting our country, from planning for our unpredictable weather, spending in Ireland to finding the best foods to eat here!

(Coastal Views from the Ring of Beara Drive)
Coastal Views from the Ring of Beara Drive
  1. Weather

Ireland is best known for its unpredictable weather, but sure it adds to the charm and how else do we get our lush pasture land and pure water ?? Ireland can easily have four seasons in one day so it is vital to pack for all four of them!

As the saying goes … “ there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!”It could be beaming with sunshine in the morning but come evening time, you could be kayaking down the streets from torrential rain.

When it rains here in Ireland.. It pours! So it’s good to pack waterproof jackets and trousers if planning outdoor excursions or activities. “If you don’t like the weather just wait a minute”.. is what you might hear from the locals which means it’s so changeable, we get a lot of showers so they might travel over the hills and bring clear skies after it!

If you are planning outdoor activities, bear in mind these might change due to the weather. Most activity providers will work in all types of weather except water based activities or hill climbing providers which rely a lot on the wind speeds and rainfall. I myself work in Horse trekking centre and we take customers out in rain, hail or sunshine as some customers actually enjoy trotting along the beach in the Irish Weather!

You could get the luck of the Irish and get sunny or dry weather whilst on holiday. Anything over 17c(55 Fahrenheit) is considered a heatwave so don’t be alarmed if you see us Irish racing to the nearest beach to catch some Rays!

In the Winter the weather averages 8c(44 fahrenheit) and the Summer averages

18c (60’s fahrenheit)

  1. Visit Small towns and villages

It can be easy following the typical routes to the main hubs in Ireland which offer the best road access to but to really get the proper Irish cultural experience, one must step out of the comfort zone and venture the narrow windy roads to these idyllic little villages! We drive on wrong side of the road here in Ireland (which is the left! ) this is important to know as the roads can be small and narrow so it is important not to take up the whole road as a busy farmer might come zooming around the corner trying to get tio his sheep, or you could meet the moving of cattle or sheep on the road which is considered rush hour traffic in Ireland!


This where you will step into the proper Ireland. Most of these villages are far out from the main towns so it’s best to plan a route that will take you through these small villages and that there is accommodation available in these villages! Also, make sure you have your currency exchanged before your road trip as these small villages might not have the facilities to change currency and withdrawing from the home bank account can be very expensive.

Talk to the locals , have a pint in the local pub and get to know the locals because they know the ins and outs of the area and guarantee that they will be full of local folklore tales and knowledge! And you will always meet the local character nursing his pint in the corner!

  1. Currency

There are ATMs located in most of Ireland’s towns (there is no ATM in Lisdoonvara!) Majority of pubs, restaurants and shops take card, there might be a few places in small villages that might not so it’s no harm to carry some cash with you. The currency in the Republic of Ireland is Euro and the Northern Ireland has the Pound. Non- EU visitors can shop tax free as long as you hold on to the receipts, you are entitled to tax back!

Here is a useful link if you want to know more about claiming tax :

  1. Electronics

If you are bringing IPads, phones, laptops gopros ect you will need to bring a 3 pin plug adapter which you can purchase in the airport. Some buses and cafes have USB ports for chargers. Also look up the restrictions of carrying certain electronics on a carry on bags some airlines might only allow certain devices on board.

To pack light, try and avoid bringing too many electrical devices. If you own an android phone or an Iphone it will work as a camera , internet provider and wallet in keeping tickets and banking information with the constant updating and improvement of apps these days.

(Snapping a photo along the Ring of Kerry)
Snapping a photo along the Ring of Kerry

5. Food and Drink

We are a very lucky island to have one of the best agricultural land with our lush green fields and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. This means our restaurants have access to the best quality foods to serve to you! Don’t be afraid to try some of our local dishes such as Bacon and Cabbage or a lamb stew! Or some freshly caught steamed mussels from our shorelines washed down with a pint of guinness!

Ireland has no shortage of whiskeys and beer’s with local Craft beers galore! Try an IPA (Irish Pale Ale) or some localised Gin in a cosy little pub.There are also distilleries and breweries across Ireland that are worth visiting!


  1. Tipping

Ireland doesn’t have a strong culture of tipping, but for certain services the locals would tip such as restaurants, taxis and hairdressing. At restaurants, if you are fully satisfied with your meal, 10% of the bill would be normally tipped to the staff. Tips can be done at your own discretion for other services!

  1. Check Bag restrictions with Airlines

Be sure to check with the airlines that you are travelling with the restrictions with baggage. RyanAir allows a passenger to bring a carry on bag under 10 kilos.

When packing for a trip, pack light with clothes that you know that you will get a few wears out of. This will help with less hassle at the airport with overweight bags and you will have room for presents and purchases- plus it will be less baggage for you to carry around!

  1. Explore the culture..

Ireland’s customs and traditions has shaped the cultural identity of the country and its important to discover these traditions and customs when visiting Ireland as it will give you the full experience!

Irish music plays a massive role in shaping our cultural identity with musical instruments such as the tin whistle, accordion, uileann pipes, and the cláirseach – the official symbol of Ireland. During high season majority of pubs have music sessions which can go into the night so be sure to the session!

Irish dancing is a big tradition in Ireland where it got popular in the 1990’s from the River Dance. Any pub playing Irish music will have someone out dancing at some stage of the night so go grab a partner and try some set dancing!

Try and visit some of the heritage sites that are all over Ireland such as Rock of Cashel, Old famine Cottages, Guinness Storehouse.

Here is a link for other sites across Ireland:

  1. Sunday is a day of rest ….for some places!

When arriving into towns or villages on a sunday, check out the opening times for certain places such as cafés and shops. Some places open later in the later or others close earlier in the day. (The same thing applies to Bank Holiday weekends)

Majority of tourism businesses are open 7 days a week with the weekends being the busiest days. Outdoor activities run from 9am through to 4 or 5. Or for example with some kayaking providers, they offer sunset trips with run in the evenings between 7 and 9pm.

10 . English is the main language in Ireland

A lot of people have an expectation coming to Ireland that we all speak Irish in Ireland but only a small section of country speaks it fluently. There is a lot of history involved with the dominance of the English language You will find in more rural villages in Galway, Donegal and Kerry will have native Irish speakers and a tip for you before you visit Ireland is to have a cupla focal of Irish to chat to the locals- they will love you!

I hope these tips come useful to you as your plan your trip to Ireland! And remember to have fun whilst discovering our Emerald Isle!


~ Triona